With the Government recommending those that can be working from home, should. It is important to note that for some people it’s not the perfect set up.
There is the obvious advantage of no commuting and technology meaning we can have more autonomy over our time. However some people will need to monitor their mental health, the added autonomy of working from home doesn’t work for everyone.
For some, working from home can put their mental health at risk, causing feelings of isolation and disconnection. Without the feedback and encouragement they usually receive from their fellow workers at the office it can cause their productivity to suffer.
Working remotely may create a pressure “to appear busy” or to be online throughout the working day. This can cause stress.
So, what do the experts recommend?
Working from home is new for many industries and workers. So issuing guidance is essential. You should be relaxed about the results in the first week or so as people find their way.
- Guidance to your staff should firstly be about technology and then set the parameters that it’s OK to work in the morning and take a couple of hours out.
- Let people know they should set up a “work zone or space” and not the sofa! If possible this should be in a room where children and pets can be kept out, and can be left once work has “finished ”.
- Encourage “self- care time” for meditation or exercise. One business we know does a group video meeting with a personal trainer 3 times a week for basic fitness (let’s be honest we are all different shapes and sizes!). While not in the budget for all, there are plenty of free home training videos available online.
- Hold a team Skype, GoToMeeting, Zoom, Facebook Messenger call or other group telephone call for 20 minutes each morning at 9.00am. Seeing your co-workers is a boost and just to know “you are all in it together” helps. This will also encourage adhering to standard working hours.
- Encourage a downtime of between 12 and 2 and no work after 5.
- If applicable to your business, recommend no emails between certain times. This can help them get their heads down into work better.
- Businesses that are not paperless may need to allocate someone to fetch and deliver documents/records/files to employee’s homes.
- If possible, see how you might be able to move to a more paperless system, either through cloud software, or using a VPN (virtual private network) and your in-office server system.
- Let people come into the office alone if they need a day away from home. Be sure to schedule this so as to avoid multiple people in too close proximity.
- Consider sending your staff fruit and deliveries of “goodies” from time to time.
Just the start
This is not a comprehensive guide and Shapcotts encourage you to talk to your team. Each business will be different, so talk about what they want and how the arrangements work for them individually. We will look to have a more comprehensive guide in the coming weeks. Make sure you are signed up to our newsletter to see updates as they are released.
March 19th, 2020